September 19, 2022
Dear Senators Schumer, McConnell, Leahy and Shelby and Representatives Pelosi, McCarthy, DeLauro and Granger,
We, the members of the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition1The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is made up of organizations supporting conservation, recreation, outdoor industry, travel and tourism and historic preservation that are dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of the National Park System for the long-term benefit it offers our nation., urge inclusion of at least $1.7 billion in disaster relief for our national parks in the next FY23 spending bill. The extent of this year’s natural disasters and their economic impact on our national parks and their surrounding communities cannot be understated and immediate relief is needed.
The FY23 Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes $1.7 billion for National Park Service construction and repairs, but it is not currently included in the continuing resolution. The $1.7 billion provides $1.2 billion for infrastructure in Yellowstone National Park to repair the devastating road damage caused by a violent flood event this summer; $121 million to repair the Denali Road, the only route into the park, closed to visitor traffic due to deterioration from permafrost melt; $320 million for Lake Mead and Glen Canyon National Recreation Areas to address recreation needs due to the historic drought affecting the West; and $153 million to provide for other disaster recovery needs.
Our national parks have long been suffering from staff losses, deteriorating infrastructure and other funding challenges. These natural disasters would further challenge an underfunded National Park Service without supplemental funding. Without this relief, the agency would be forced to absorb these costs and as a result undermine national park throughout the country by delaying urgent projects.
For more than a century, our national parks have remained America’s favorite places, important pieces of our natural and cultural heritage set aside for future generations to explore and enjoy. In 2021, 295 million park visitors spent an estimated $20.5 billion in local gateway communities while visiting NPS sites across the country. These expenditures supported a total of 323 thousand jobs. In addition, America’s outdoor recreation economy supports over 5 million American jobs and contributes over $788 billion in annual economic output.
Therefore, it is critical that Congress provide at least $1.7 billion in disaster relief for our national parks in the next FY23 spending bill to restore our parks and the nearby communities.
Thank you for considering our views,
American Hiking Society
American Society for Landscape Architects
Atomic Heritage Foundation
The Corps Network
Evangelical Environmental Network
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
International Inbound Travel Association
National Park Hospitality Association
National Park Partners
National Parks Conservation Association
Western States Tourism Policy Council
Wild Rivers Conservancy of the St. Croix & Namekagon
- 1The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is made up of organizations supporting conservation, recreation, outdoor industry, travel and tourism and historic preservation that are dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of the National Park System for the long-term benefit it offers our nation.